Subconscient

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Letters on Yoga - I
“The Subconscient and the Inconscient”

Letters on Yoga I - The Subconscient and the Inconscient.jpg
PDF (11 pages)
          Letters on Yoga - IV
“The Subconscient and the Integral Yoga”

Letters on Yoga IV - The Subconscient and the Integral Yoga.jpg
PDF (22 pages)


(Mother to Satprem, 1972:) “We are disgusted with the world as it is – and we have the POWER to change it. But we are such fools that we can’t bring ourselves to abdicate our silly little personality to... to let the Marvel unfold.
         And that’s all accumulated in the subconscient: everything we have rejected is there, and now it must be brought in contact with the transforming Force... so that this unconsciousness may come to an end.”[1]


(Sri Aurobindo, 1938:) “It is when the sadhana came down into the physical and subconscient that things became very difficult. I myself had to struggle for two years. For the subconscient is absolutely inert, like stone. Though my mind was quite awake above, it could not exert any influence down below. It is a Herculean labour. If I had been made to see it before, probably I would have been less enthusiastic about it. There is the virtue of blind faith! When one enters into the subconscient, it is like stepping on an unexplored continent. Previous Yogis came down to the vital level, they did not descend further, and they were quite sensible in not doing so! But if I too had left it there, the real work would have remained undone. Once the subconscient is conquered, things will become easy for those who come after. That is what is meant by the ‘realisation of one in all’.”[2]


(Sri Aurobindo:) “When something is thrown out of the vital or physical, it very usually goes down into the subconscient and remains there as if in seed and comes up again when it can. That is the reason why it is so difficult to get rid of habitual vital movements or to change the character; for, supported or refreshed from this source, preserved in this matrix your vital movements, even when suppressed or repressed, surge up again and recur. The action of the subconscient is irrational, mechanical, repetitive. It does not listen to reason or the mental will. It is only by bringing the higher light and force into it that it can change.”[3]


(Student, 1951:) “Is the vital distorted from the very birth?

(Mother:) If your birth was not an accident, you could very well think there was no distortion, but what you are at your birth is most of the time almost absolutely what your mother and father have made you, and also, through them, what your grandparents have made you. There are certain vital traditions in families and, besides, there is the state of consciousness in which you were formed, conceived — the moment at which you were conceived — and that, not once in a million times does that state conform to true aspiration; and it is only a true aspiration which could make your vital pure of all mixture, make the vital element attracted for the formation of the being a pure element, free from all contagion; I mean that if a psychic being enters there, it can gather elements favourable to its growth. In the world as it is, things are so mixed up, have been so mixed up in every way, that it is almost impossible to have elements of the vital sufficiently pure not to suffer the contagion of all other contaminated beings.
         I think I have already spoken about that, I have said what kind of aspiration ought to be there in the parents before the birth; but as I said, this does not happen even once in a hundred thousand instances. The willed conception of a child is extremely rare; mostly it is an accident. Among innumerable parents it is quite a small minority that even simply bothers about what a child could be; they do not even know that what the child will be depends on what they are. It is a very small élite which knows this. Most of the time things go as they can; anything at all happens and people don’t even realise what is happening. So, in these conditions how do you expect to be born with a vital being sufficiently pure to be of help to you? One is born with a slough to clean before one begins to live. And once you have made a good start on the way to the inner transformation and you go down to the subconscient root of the being — that exactly which comes from parents, from atavism — well, you do see what it is! And all, almost all difficulties are there, there are very few things added to existence after the first years of life. This happens at any odd moment; if you keep bad company or read bad books, the poison may enter you; but there are all the imprints deep-rooted in the subconscient, the dirty habits you have and against which you struggle. For instance, there are people who can’t open their mouth without telling a lie, and they don’t always do this deliberately (that is the worst of it), or people who can’t come in touch with others without quarrelling, all sorts of stupidities — they are there in the subconscient, deeply rooted. Now, when you have a goodwill, externally you do your best to avoid all that, to correct it if possible; you work, you fight; then become aware that this thing always keeps coming up, it comes up from some part which escapes your control. But if you enter this subconscient, if you let your consciousness infiltrate it, and look carefully, gradually you will discover all the sources, all the origins of all your difficulties; then you will begin to understand what your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers were, and if at a certain moment you are unable to control yourself, you will understand, “I am like that because they were like that.”
         If you have within you a psychic being sufficiently awake to watch over you, to prepare your path, it can draw towards you things which help you, draw people, books, circumstances, all sorts of little coincidences which come to you as though brought by some benevolent will and give you an indication, a help, a support to take decisions and turn you in the right direction. But once you have taken this decision, once you have decided to find the truth of your being, once you start sincerely on the road, then everything seems to conspire to help you to advance, and if you observe carefully you see gradually the source of your difficulties: “Ah! Wait a minute, this defect was in my father; oh! this habit was my mother’s; oh! my grandmother was like this, my grandfather was like that.” Or it could well be the nurse who took care of you when you were small, or brothers and sisters who played with you, the little friends you met, and you will find that all this was there, in this person or that or the other. But if you continue to be sincere, you find you can cross all this quite calmly, and after a time you cut all the moorings with which you were born, break the chains and go freely on the path.
         If you really want to transform your character, it is that you must do. It has always been said that it is impossible to change one’s nature; in all books of philosophy, even of yoga, you are told the same story: “You cannot change your character, you are born like that, you are like that.” This is absolutely false, I guarantee it is false; but there is something very difficult to do to change your character, because it is not your character which must be changed, it is the character of your antecedents. In them you will not change it (because they have no such intention), but it is in you that it must be changed. It is what they have given you, all the little gifts made to you at your birth — nice gifts — it is this which must be changed. But if you succeed in getting hold of the thread of these things, the true thread, since you have worked upon this with perseverance and sincerity, one fine morning you will be free; all this will fall off from you and you will be able to get a start in life without any burden. Then you will be a new man, living a new life, almost with a new nature. And if you look back you will say, “It is not possible, I was never like that!” ”[4]


(Mother to Satprem, 1961:) “The subconscient of plants or animals, for example, isn’t individualized; what we call an animal’s behavior doesn’t arise from individualization but from the genius of the species. Consequently, the individual subconscient is something already evolved out of the general Subconscient. But when one descends to accomplish a work of transformation – to bring Light into the different layers of life, for instance – one descends into a cosmic, terrestrial Subconscient, not an individual Subconscient. And the work of transformation is done within the whole – not through individualization, but through the opposite movement, through a sort of universalization.

(Satprem:) No, what I mean is that as we progress, we automatically become universalized....

Yes, necessarily.

And we are told that we have to change the Subconscient, to bring Light into it; but being universal it has no end! New vibrations keep coming in at every instant …

No!

... vibrations from the outside, from here, there – it’s endless. How can we change it?

No, it isn’t endless – it’s limited to the earth’s atmosphere.

That’s already quite a lot!

Yes, but not endless.

Then how can we act upon it – all these vibrations that keep pouring in from all over the world, from the whole earth?

It isn’t difficult – the minute you become universalized you act upon the whole.
         Even Buddha said that if you have a vibration of desire, this vibration goes all around the terrestrial atmosphere. The opposite is what’s impossible! It’s impossible to separate yourself. You can have the idea of being separate, but you can’t be separate in reality. In fact, if you are trying to eliminate the Subconscient in yourself your movement must necessarily be general; it can’t be personal, you would never get anywhere.

Yes, of course, but these vibrations are ceaselessly re-created.

No, they are not re-created.

But there are people having wrong movements at every instant, so ... ?

So it all keeps circling round and round in the earth’s atmosphere. But compared to the universe, the earth’s atmosphere is a very tiny thing. Well, all this keeps circling around within it. And in fact, because of the movement of evolution, there is a progress. The present Inconscient is not as unconscious as the initial Inconscient, and the present Subconscient is not as subconscious nor as generalized as it was at the beginning. This is the meaning of terrestrial evolution.

But if, as you say, it keeps circling around in the earth’s atmosphere, doesn’t this mean that vibrations are ceaselessly re-created?

Not re-created – they keep circling around, which is not the same thing!
         A re-creation would mean that a new contingent of the Inconscient and Subconscient would come in from other spheres, or from the Supreme – well, this isn’t the case.”[5]


(Mother to Satprem, 1961:) “The Inconscient (oh, all this comes to me in English, that’s the difficulty!) is meant to go and necessarily the Subconscient will go too.

(Satprem:) Broadly speaking, does this mean that physical Matter will become conscious?

Yes, in a certain way. It will become receptive. The mode of life won’t necessarily change, but the form of life will change. Matter will become responsive. Do we say that in French?

Réceptif.

No, receptive is one thing and responsive is another. To respond: Matter will respond to the conscious will. Indeed, this is why there is hope – how else could there be a transformation? Things would always remain as they are! What kind of earth would it be for the supramental race to live on if no Matter gave response, if Matter did not begin to vibrate and respond to the Will?”[6]


(Sehra letter to Mother, 11 March 1957:) “Before going to bed I asked myself why my prayer for quick recovery in the Mother's eye-trouble had not been answered. Then I went to sleep. Suddenly someone spoke: “Would you like to know why your prayer is not answered and why this attack has come on the Mother's body?” He took my hand and we went down and down as if into a deep well. Soon I found myself in a place which was dark and yet visible. The Voice said: “The sun never shines here. This place is always as you see it now.”
         I saw people there with human forms, but they were not human beings. They were very huge and hideous, with one or two or three teeth protruding from the mouth. The women were good-looking, yet there was something vicious and dreadful in them. Then we walked along and on a sudden we came to a narrow street. There on both sides human corpses were heaped, bodies over bodies. We went a little further and I saw those strange ugly beings dragging out the corpses, tearing them into pieces and each one looking at his possession and saying, “Look what I have got.”
         The bleeding pieces from different parts of the bodies represented different desires and feelings – lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. And the beings who took the pieces and some of whom started eating them were themselves representative of the same desires and feelings. Each got what corresponded to his own nature. All were enjoying themselves over the hold they had on human beings. Many of the corpses were also enjoying what was happening to them. They were not really dead but only looked so: they were alive. A few of them were repelled by the touch of those non-human creatures, yet even these had somewhere a tiny bit in themselves that found enjoyment.
         Then I said, “Oh please take me away from here.” And the Voice replied, “This is where the Mother's work is going on and where the attack comes from. Her work is to pull all the human corpses away from this darkness and from these people. The corpses don't allow her to save them. They on the contrary throw on her their evil desires and feelings. So your prayer cannot be answered quickly.”

(Amal Kiran:) When Sehra met the Mother the next day, she told her how utterly sick she was feeling. (She actually took over a fortnight to recover.) The Mother said: “You have seen correctly. I am now working in the subconscient. It is a very terrible region and even worse than what you have described. I am not surprised that you are feeling unwell. But be calm and call my protection and light. You will recover. There is something written by Sri Aurobindo on the subject. I shall tell Nolini to show it to you.” ”[7]




  1. Mother's Agenda 1972-1973, 19 July 1972
  2. Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p.5, 10 December 1938
  3. Letters on Yoga – I, p.243
  4. Ibid., p.260
  5. Mother's Agenda 1961, 2 August 1961
  6. Ibid.
  7. Amal Kiran, The Sun and the Rainbow, p.195


See also